Links: Box Score
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Another close game played out between the Merrimack College men’s basketball program and Wagner College on Wednesday, with the host Seahawks emerging with a 64-59 win at the Spiro Sports Center. Merrimack ended the season with a 9-9 Northeast Conference (NEC) record, while Wagner finished with a 13-5 mark. They also claimed the NEC’s regular season crown with Wednesday’s triumph.
Down nine with two minutes to play, Merrimack stormed back to make it a two-point game, 61-59, with 55 seconds to play following a 3-pointer by senior Devin Jensen. The Warriors had two possessions in the final minute to either tie or take the lead, but were unable to do so as Wagner held on for a 64-59 victory.
Jensen posted one of his best performances of the season with 16 points, eight rebounds and four 3-pointers. Sophomore Ziggy Reid also continued his strong stretch of play to end the year with an efficient 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting. Wagner was led by senior Elijah Ford who had 21 points and 13 rebounds.
Score: Wagner 64, Merrimack 59
Records: Merrimack (9-9, 9-9 NEC) | Wagner (13-6, 13-5 NEC)
Location: Staten Island, N.Y. | Spiro Sports Center
- Merrimack built a 13-8 lead in the early going, but Wagner fought back to tie the game on a pair of occasions over the next five minutes, including at 18-all by the midway point of the first half. The Warriors’ first four field goals came from beyond the arc, with Jensen hitting three of the four
- The visitors went on an 11-0 run to break the 18-18 deadlock, holding a double-digit lead with under four minutes left in the half. Junior Mikey Watkins, sophomore Jordan Minor and sophomore Mykel Derring all hit shots during the run. Wagner chipped away over the final three-plus minutes, however, trimming its deficit to five points entering halftime, 31-26
- With Merrimack up by six, the Seahawks used a 12-3 run to turn a 34-28 game into a 40-37 lead for the hosts by the 11:37 mark of the second half. Points from Minor and Watkins gave Merrimack a brief lead at 41-40, but Wagner used an 11-2 spurt from there to bring its advantage back to eight points, 51-43, with 7:08 remaining
- Back-and-forth play continued from there. Reid hit a 3-pointer at the five-minute mark to complete a 6-0 burst to bring the Warriors within one possession, but Wagner answered with a 7-0 stretch of its own to regain a 58-49 advantage. Merrimack’s last run occurred at that point, using a 10-3 stretch over a span of 70 seconds to create a two-point disparity, 61-59, with 55 seconds left. Merrimack missed a shot and had a turnover from there, however, enabling the Seahawks to hold on for the win
Notes and Numbers
- Jensen set a season high in scoring during the season finale while tying his season best with the four 3-pointers made. He added a team-high eight boards
- Reid finished the season by scoring at least 10 points in six of his final seven games. The Baltimore, Md. native averaged 16.0 points per game over the final seven of the year, shooting 50.7 percent (38-75) over that stretch
- Merrimack posted its second best 3-point shooting performance from deep of the year, making 43 percent of its attempts from deep (9-21)
- The Warriors’ 3-point defense was also excellent, holding Wagner to 17.6 percent shooting (3-17). It was the fourth time this year that the Warriors limited their foes to three 3-point field goals or fewer
- Wagner enjoyed advantages in points in the paint (28-12) and bench points (17-2)